For two semesters, 3L Angela Silvers was a judicial intern for Judge Dee Benson. After graduation, she will clerk in the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington, D.C.
In the interview below, Silvers shares a few of her experiences as a judicial intern, shares her insights on how to prepare for an internship, and explains why she would recommend a judicial internship to any serious student.
Congratulations on your two semesters of interning with Judge DEE Benson in the U.S. District Court. How did you first get interested in a judicial internship?
I became interested in a judicial clerkship the summer before my 1L year of law school. I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to work as a “0L” Summer Associate at a law firm. On one of the weekly golf outings the firm hosts for the summer clerks, I was talking to an associate who had clerked for Judge Benson about his experience. I knew right away that it was something I would love to do if given the opportunity.
We understand that you worked on IP cases during the internship. What did you do to prepare for that somewhat specialized area of law?
Much of my preparation for working on the IP cases for Judge Benson occurred before I started interning for him. As I mentioned, I had been working at an IP firm since the summer before starting law school. I knew that I was interested in pursuing IP law, so I had been trying to get as well-rounded of an experience as I could while working at the firm, and I learned (and continue to learn) most of what I know about IP law by working there.
What advance planning did you do to prepare for the internship? Were any of your classes or other experiences at the College of Law particularly helpful or applicable to this experience?
An important part of the preparation for my internship was my experience in legal writing. I had a fantastic Legal Methods professor my 1L year, and gained a lot of experience at the firm writing memos and briefs.
What was the most memorable experience during the internship?
My most memorable experience during the internship was getting to sit in the “clerk box” next to the judge during oral arguments for the patent cases I worked on, and then writing the opinions for them. That was by far the most exciting experience I have had in law school.
Would you recommend that your fellow students participate in judicial internships? If so, what kinds of insights would you share about how to get prepared?
I would recommend a judicial internship to any (serious) law student. I say “serious” because it is a valuable experience that should not be taken lightly. It can be the most important experience you will have in law school. I recommend it very highly.
You will be doing a judicial clerkship after graduation. Tell us about that. What is it about clerkships that you find particularly appealing?
I will be clerking for the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington, D.C. after law school. The C.A.F.C. is the sole appellate court for patent cases nationwide. This is the most appealing aspect of the clerkship for me—I know the experience with patent law that I will gain while clerking at the Federal Circuit will be priceless and second to none.
Any other thoughts you’d like to share?
For students hoping to clerk after law school, I highly recommend doing a judicial internship. Many of my classmates were awarded their clerkships by interning for a judge who got to know them and decided to bring them back after graduation as law clerks. Even if you do not want to clerk for the same judge for whom you intern, the experience will augur favorably toward obtaining a clerkship.